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Multiple Alameda County cities will support outdoor dining in spite of new state guidance – SFGate

By Eric Ting, SFGATE Updated 2:43 pm PDT, Saturday, July 11, 2020 Waitress Jariya Namwaan works a shift at Farmhouse Kitchen in Oakland, Calif. on June 23, 2020. The restaurant recently re-opened to customers for outdoor dine-in service. Waitress Jariya Namwaan works a shift at Farmhouse Kitchen in Oakland, Calif. on June 23, 2020. The restaurant…

By Eric Ting, SFGATE

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  • Waitress Jariya Namwaan works a shift at Farmhouse Kitchen in Oakland, Calif. on June 23, 2020. The restaurant recently re-opened to customers for outdoor dine-in service. Photo: Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE / SFGATE

    Waitress Jariya Namwaan works a change at Farmhouse Kitchen in Oakland, Calif. on June 23, 2020. The restaurant recently re-opened to customers for outdoor dine-in service\.

    Waitress Jariya Namwaan functions a shift at Farmhouse Kitchen in Oakland, Calif. on June 23, 2020. The restaurant to customers\.

    Photo: Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

Photo: Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

Waitress Jariya Namwaan works a shift at Farmhouse Kitchen in Oakland, Calif. on June 23, 2020. The restaurant to customers\.

Waitress Jariya Namwaan functions a shift at Farmhouse Kitchen in Oakland, Calif. on June 23, 2020. The restaurant to customers for outside support\.

Photo: Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

Multiple cities in Alameda County will continue to close roads to permit for expanded outdoor dining despite Alameda County’s announcement that a new state advice requires the county to restrict restaurants to takeout and delivery.

In a statement released late Friday night, Alameda County officials declared that the state now prohibits outdoor dining in counties that have not obtained a regional variance from state officials. Alameda County and Southern California’s Imperial County are the only two counties in the state that haven’t gone through the procedure for a variance.

“While Alameda County’s Health Officer Order allowed for outdoor diningtable, under this more rigorous state guidance, all restaurants, wineries, and bars in Alameda County may just be open for drive-through or pick-up/delivery options,” the statement reads.

In response, officials in Hayward, Livermore, Pleasanton and Dublin announced plans to proceed with street closures aimed at creating more outdoor seats, and Oakland officials declared that while road closures will be halted, there will be no local authorities of the nation guidance. The cities noted that the Alameda County health order allowing outdoor dining on June 18 has yet to be formally rescinded or superseded with a brand new order.

“The close of downtown roads this afternoon and evening to permit for expanded outdoor dining and encourage shopping was proposed and is being carried out in accordance with the recent Alameda County Shelter-in-Place Order issued on June 18,” Hayward officials wrote in a statement published Saturday afternoon. “The Town of Hayward plans to go through with the road closure event as planned and will support local restaurants who choose to participate–whether by supplying outdoor dining service or merely takeout support.”

Livermore City Manager Marc Roberts immediately criticized the county’s statement, saying,”While the media release is confusing and unhelpful, it’s not a new purchase. This evening, Whoever has the State of California issued a fresh Purchase. The advice referred to isn’t an Order. So at this point there’s not a valid State or County Order to shut down outdoor dining, and I am not likely to independently issue a local Order…. In the absence of fresh Orders, we’ll proceed with our road closed.”

Officials in Dublin and Pleasanton issued similar statements and will continue to close streets to support outdoor dining.

The City of Oakland announced it is suspending street closures, but will not apply the new state-mandated guidance. But, action may be still taken by state officials and restaurants were cautioned by the town so.

“The State has chosen to issue orders to shut down companies in different counties and may opt to do this for Alameda County,” city officials wrote in a statement released Saturday. “While the City’s authorities has not changed, the State may apply the ban on outdoor dining table in Alameda County, for example issuing citations. We share this information so firm owners can make educated decisions on their daily operations.”

The City of Berkeley is under a different health authority from Alameda County, and Mayor Jesse Arrequin tweeted,”While we are an independent health service, until we get approval of trying our own variance, we’re under the strict guidance of this nation. The arrangement is what must be complied, which means we must close dining. We are hoping to change this.”

Alameda County plans to make an application for a regional variance following week.

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Eric Ting is an SFGATE digital reporter. Email: eric.ting@sfgate.com | Twitter: @_ericting

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